Overview of Florida Legislature 2002

Tax Reform

HJR 833-Every sales tax exemption in Florida wil be examined by a 12 member legislative panel. The review would stretch over a three year period, beginning in 2004. This has to be approved by voters in November through referendum. Exemptions could be repealed by majority vote of the committee, provided that the full Legislature doesn’t reinstate an individual exemption within two years.

Reapportionment HB 1993-A legislative map redrawing Florida’s congressional districts passed the House and Senate. Reapportionment is done every 10 years after the taking of the national census. Florida picked up two new congressional seats due to poulation gains. The new map, which must be approved by the Governor nd survive likely court challenges, would virtually guarantee a congressional seat for outgoing House Speaker Tom Feeney.

Privatization of State Personnel System

HB 1967-This passed the House, but was not taken up by the Senate.

Public Libraries

S392,S40, H95-This bill would have placed filters on public library computers toprevent children from viewing “obscene” material. The decision on whether to install such filters remains in the hands of local lawmakers throughout the state.

Restoration of Voting Rights

SB 1826, SB 1880-These bills would have allowed convicted felons to register to reestablish voting rights under conditions set down by the legislature. Both bills did not get out of committee.

General Appropriations

S2500, H1943-These bills form the foundation for the state’s annual budget. State lawmakers have not decided on an actual date for a budgetary special session. It appears FAMU will receive most of the money it requestedto accommodate enrollment increases.

Education Code Rewrite

H2017, S1564-The education code rewrite covers almost every facet of Florida’s K-20 education system. Under the overhaul, university board of trustees would inherit expanded powers, school board salaries could be lowered to match the lowest paid teachers and the state Board of Education’s role would be more clearly defined. The education rewrite session is scheduled to begin April 2.